If your towels have a musty odor even after they’ve been washed, it’s time to take some additional cleaning steps. Smelly towels can be harboring mildew and other pathogens that could have adverse affects on one's health. Here’s how to remedy this problem and prevent towel odors from recurring.
|Detergent type||Vinegar and baking soda|
Before You Begin
Musty towel smell is the same issue that happens when mop heads or cleaning sponges don't dry thoroughly between uses. A warm, moist environment is conducive to fungal and bacterial growth. And all it can take is leaving a damp towel balled up in a laundry basket or on the floor of the bathroom. Thus, hanging a towel to allow air to circulate and dry it after every use is the best way to prevent odors.
Click Play to Learn How to Easily Get Rid of Musty Towel Odors
Equipment / Tools
- Washing machine
- Tennis balls or felted wool dryer balls (Optional)
- Baking soda
How to Remove Musty Odors from Towels
Sometimes even when you are trying to prevent odors, your towels can still end up smelling a little off. If this occurs, try these tips.
Machine Wash With Vinegar
Run your towels through a regular cycle with very warm or hot water, your regular detergent, and 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar as a natural fabric softener for the rinse cycle.
Machine Wash With Baking Soda
Run the towels through the regular cycle again, this time using only a half cup of baking soda and no detergent or fabric softener. Just the baking soda should do the trick.
Dry Your Towels
Once you have done the vinegar and baking soda treatment, you need to dry your towels. Many swear by the fact that line-dried items smell fresher, though they often do not feel as soft. One way to have the best of both worlds is to do both.
Toss towels in the dryer with one or two new or very clean tennis balls or felted wool dryer balls. The balls will fluff up the towels and make them softer.
Hang Towels to Dry
Allow your towel to air-dry fully off the floor—dampness is the number one culprit of musty odors.
Tips for Keeping Towels Odor-Free
Since dampness is a huge factor in towel odors, find out which family member is the culprit of leaving towels wet or on the floor. One way to get compliance with towel hanging is to assign each person in the house their own color-coded towels. You can figure out who is causing the towel infraction by noticing the color of the towel wadded up on the floor. Work with the person to develop the habit of hanging their towel after each use.
It is also important to switch towels quickly from the washing machine to the dryer. Clean your lint filter regularly to make sure your dryer is running as efficiently as possible. If you notice that it takes a long time to dry towels, you might have a problem with your washing machine leaving too much water in them or with your dryer.
Also, just like dishwashers and other regularly used appliances, your washing machine needs a good cleaning every now and then. Fortunately, washing the washer is pretty easy, as the appliance does most of the work for you. If you regularly wash your whites with chlorine bleach, then that is sufficient for cleaning your washing machine. But if you forego the use of bleach, then periodically do a wash cycle with 4 cups of white vinegar on hot for the longest wash cycle.
Twumwaa H, Asumang B, Imoro ZA, Kpordze SW. Toothbrush and towel handling and their microbial quality: The case of students of university for development studies, Nyankpala campus, Ghana. Afr J Infect Dis., vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 41-46 2020. doi:10.21010/ajid.v15i1.5